So far, no global earthquakes, no mass disappearances or people rising into the sky.
But — apparently — more disappointed confused folks than you’d like to think.
There was a young truck driver and his family that the Los Angeles Times talked to…
Keith Bauer, a 38-year-old tractor-trailer driver from Westminster, Md., took last week off from work, packed his wife, young son and a relative in their SUV and crossed the country.
If it was his last week on Earth, he wanted to see parts of it he’d always heard about but missed, such as the Grand Canyon and the Painted Forest. With maxed-out credit cards and a growing mountain of bills, he said, the rapture would have been a relief.
The LA Times reported that Bauer was philosophical.
On Saturday morning, Bauer was parked in front of the Oakland headquarters of Camping’s Family Radio empire, half expecting to see an angry mob of disenchanted believers howling for the preacher’s head. The office was closed, and the street was mostly deserted save for journalists.
Bauer said he was not bitter. “Worst-case scenario for me, I got to see the country,” he said. “If I should be angry at anybody, it should be me.”
Not everyone, however, appears to have been as philosophic in their reaction.
Others had risked a lot more on Camping’s prediction, quitting jobs, abandoning relationships, volunteering months of their time to spread the word. Matt Tuter, the longtime producer of Camping’s radio and television call-in show, said Saturday that he expected there to be “a lot of angry people” as reality proved Camping wrong.
Tuter said Family Radio’s AM station in Sacramento had been “severely vandalized” Friday night or Saturday morning, with air conditioning units yanked out and $25,000 worth of copper stripped from the equipment. He thinks it must have been an angry listener. He was off Saturday but planned to drive past the headquarters “and make sure nothing’s burning.”
Camping himself, who has given innumerable interviews in recent months, was staying out of sight Saturday. No one answered the door at his Alameda home, though neighbors said he was there.
The New York Daily News talked to others among his followers.
Believers, like former MTA worker David Fitzpatrick, who had mortgaged their life savings for Camping’s predictions, seemed puzzled by the predicament they found themselves in. But few have blamed Camping for leading them astray – again.
“Some people were saying it was going to be an earthquake at that specific time in New Zealand and be a rolling judgment, but God is keeping us in our place and saying you may know the day but you don’t know the hour,” Marie Exley, who helped put up billboards across the Middle East, told the AP from her home in Bozeman, Montana. “The day is not over, it’s just the morning, and we have to endure until the end.”
This writer seldom gives spiritual advice in this space… actually, make that never.
But when reading any document searching for intent or messages or meanings I would say one thing: start with the big print.
Harold Camping claimed his prediction was culled from carefully sifting and correlating information from the Holy Bible and analyzing it from the point of view of his 80 plus years of Bible scholarship.
But the Bible itself says, in Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”